Telangana

‘Uber plans to hire 50,000 women drivers by 2020’

Siddarth Shanker  

A year after the Telangana State Government advised citizens against using Uber’s cab services, it signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) agreeing to invest up to 50 million USD in the city.

Explaining the steps taken to address issues between the company and the Centre after a driver was arrested for rape last year, Siddarth Shanker, General Manager, Uber (Hyderabad), in an interview speaks about the company’s functioning and its willingness to improve.

The main issue Transport Department officials pointed out was that Uber, though providing taxis to customers, does not come under the Motor Vehicle Act and hence remains unregulated

Right, we want to be regulated and not be cowboys! We have been engaging with the government after the incident and have submitted proposals on how the service comes under the MV Act. The law is old and we were in unchartered waters.

After the rape incident in New Delhi, the Centre issued advisory to States, which resulted in governments asking people not to use Uber. What happened?

A lot of them did not understand how Uber actually works, and when you don’t understand, you don’t want to deal with it.

Uber does not own any cabs, but helps customers in getting them. We only work with existing licensed taxis, after taking driver details, including banking information.

What steps were taken after the last year’s incident?

We had conversations with the government and then things changed. Regulations were issued for aggregators like Uber. And we are more than happy to share our data with the police. After the incident, we put an SOS button in the app, which will immediately send the driver’s details to the police and the customer’s relatives or friends the moment he/she hits it.

How many women drivers does Uber have? Is there any plan to hire many in the future?

We have around 100 in India now. There are not many women drivers and we realised in the early stages that the potential is huge. We want to hire about 50,000 of them by 2020. It is not just about them, because we have to change the mindset of the men around them.

We are tied up with banks, which are conservative lenders. We provide drivers ‘comfort letter’ that helps in getting the required financing to buy a car.

Yunus Y. Lasania

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Printable version | Oct 31, 2020 8:11:45 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/uber-plans-to-hire-50000-women-drivers-by-2020/article7472782.ece

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